In his message titled Help! I’m New to this Discussion of Family Discipleship at the 2011 Connecting Church to Home conference at Southern Baptist Seminary, Jay Strother states that his goal is to create a church culture that values families and supports one another in transferring the faith to the next generation. He starts out by explaining that when parents were surveyed their top priority is to get their children into a good collect, so that they end up with a good job. Based on what he learned from talking to parents, he worked to rebuild the ministry of the church to focus on six Biblical charactericts that he wants all kids to have (starting at the 26th minute):
- Love God
- Love Others
- Love the Church
- Love Scripture
- Love the Gospel
- Love to Serve
To implement these priorities into the church’s culture he applied to seven ministry principles:
- Synchronize teams by linking ministries
- Communicate the message from all venues in the church – from the pulpit to one-on-one conversations with parents
- Resource parents with materials to help them drive ideas into the home
- Provide materials to send home with kids classes to help Dads lead the family at home because God does not allow us to oursource spiritual development of kids to pastors at the church. Basic encouragement to talk about faith in the home
- Launch events as a catalyst to equip parents in key areas – have a session for single parents, for grandparents and other special situations
- Provide service projects for family to do together
- Move to an inter-generational worship model to keep families together (age 5 and up) together during church
He says that seven questions that should be answered (though I only caught five) to guide implemtnation of the new model:
- How does Scripture lead us to equip families? Abraham, Moses and Solomon all focused on training children and passing the faith on to the next generation
- How do we align staff and resources? There’s a champion for it within the church, but staff and resources must be realigned
- How do you communicate this message clearly?
- Can we lead in this direction with authenticity? Are you practicing family discipleship yourself?
- How do you evaluate your progress? Listen to their stories about modeling and teaching along with surveying the congregation and ask:
- If you know how to talk about faith in the home?
- Are you practicing spiritual discipline?
- Do you know how to take advantage of a teachable moment?
- Are you living on mission together as a family?
- Are sharing their faith with another family?